Patients with cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis examined soon after a low CD4 cell count had a better visual prognosis than those who were examined later, according to new data.

A recent retrospective cohort study examined 24 eyes of 17 patients with CMV retinitis from an urban HIV clinic in Thailand. Two groups were made based on the amount of time from the first documented CD4 count below 100cells/mm3 to the first eye examination for CMV retinitis. Researchers calculated average visual acuity in each group at the time CMV retinitis was first detected and then in intervals of three, six and 12 months after diagnosis.

The study found that the group of patients who received an eye examination within approximately four months of the initial low CD4 count measurement had better baseline visual acuity (median 20/30) than patients who presented later (median 20/80). Also, visual acuity did not change significantly during the 12-month study period in either the early or late group.

Researchers concluded that routine early screening of patients with CD4 counts below 100cells/mm3 may detect earlier disease and prevent vision loss.

Ausayakhun S, Yen M, Jirawison Cet al. Visual acuity outcomes in cytomegalovirus retinitis: early versus late diagnosis. B J OphthalmolSeptember 11, 2018. [Epub ahead of print].